Why Most Books About Social Anxiety Suck (and Make Things Worse)
I’m not going to get up too much on my soapbox here and rant about the problems with the social anxiety ‘industry’ I’ve already done that enough in the past(and no doubt I will again) but I was recently asked about the best books about social anxiety.
And, don’t get me wrong, there are some great ones. In fact, I’m going to give you the audiobook for one of the top-rated ones entirely free if you can hear me out here.
After years of talking, writing and coaching about shyness and social anxiety I’ve been told I can get a little… uptight about some topics. But it’s because I spent at least a decade dealing with social anxiety myself. I know what helps and what doesn’t.
I don’t know if I’d say I’m a fan of the tough love approach – but I’m certainly a fan of the practical approach. Making an actual difference. And most of the books on social anxiety do anything but this. The truth is I’ve been hiding from this topic for a while but I’m not the only one who thinks this.
For social anxiety, people often believe that their safety behaviors help prevent negative evaluation in social situations. However, they actually might be preventing them from learning the truth. For example, assume that I deal with my social anxiety by only telling people about the positive aspects of my life (like many of us do on Facebook!). Perhaps I believe that this will stop them from judging me negatively. The problem is that if I never test this hypothesis, I am never comfortable being myself. What is wrong with this?
Firstly, it is unrealistic. People are people, and everyone has their ups and downs. By putting this extra pressure on myself to always look perfect, I might start avoiding social situations, reinforcing the anxiety. Social situations become extremely stressful.
Secondly, this type of safety behavior might make people judge me negatively. For example, people may feel resentful about my “perpetually success”, or suspect that I’m not telling the whole truth. Also, this maintains my social anxiety in the long run since I can never test if people approve of me for who I really am!
On the surface, common sense advice like “people don’t want to hear about your problems — focus on the positive” sounds great. However, as we’ve just seen this isn’t the case. Unfortunately, many self-help books are full of these sorts of recommendations. – AITherapy
And the truth is books about shyness and social anxiety don’t just stop at the generic downright unhelpful tosh only printed on paper to make a few bucks. Most of them are just rehashed tripe and feel good nonsense.
You don’t need to feel better about yourself for five minutes. What you really need is genuinely useful information you can actually use in the real world to deal with your social anxiety. I mean, what else is the point.
And there are some great books and courses out there. Some are fairly expensive, some are cheap as chips. One of the absolute best books on social anxiety I suggest you can actually download entirely free.
I’ve been writing and coaching on shyness and social anxiety for years now. I’ve seen a lot of different solutions being offered and not only is this the absolute best (I’ve literally seen it change lives) – but it’s entirely free.
It takes a simple premise ‘how to talk to anyone’ and shows you how to do it. Once you can talk to people it gets a lot easier to get social exposure and that’s the real key to dealing with social anxiety. Cut the root of the problem away and the rest just evaporates.
The best part is Amazon gives you the ‘how to talk to anyone’ audiobook free when you sign up to a trial with Audible. Even if you cancel, you keep the whole book for free. So not only is it honestly the best answer I can give you – it doesn’t cost you anything. You can download it for yourself here and tell me in the contact page tomorrow how fired up you are to try it out.